“As every new report including the most recent one from the IPCC shows, it’s past time to get serious about climate change and sustainable development,” says Charles Thibodeau of Green Economy New Brunswick (GENB). “Not only are businesses recognizing that it’s the right thing to do, but they’re also realizing there are real tangible benefits to their companies as well.”
Launched in July, GENB is a non-profit program created as a response to increased interest from local companies in the market for guidance and support as they begin or accelerate their sustainability journey. Adapted from the proven Green Economy Canada model already active in Ontario and Alberta, GENB is designed to meet the needs of New Brunswick businesses serious about sustainability, which includes providing services in both English and French. Those service offerings include developing a company’s GHG inventory, creating an action plan, and setting reduction targets.
New Brunswick companies joining GENB become part of a Canadian network of over 300 members including EY, Glencore, Goodlife Fitness, IKEA, Home Hardware, TD Bank, and several hundred smaller businesses.
“Businesses of any size, particularly SMEs, are looking at several benefits if they join us at GENB,” notes Thibodeau. “Beyond the big one – improving your bottom line – getting serious about sustainability mitigates business risks, improves employee satisfaction, enhances your company’s brand, and helps you become a more desirable employer, particularly with the younger generation that takes things like climate change and sustainability seriously.”
What to Expect
Thibodeau says companies can expect a focus on three major issues – greenhouse gases (GHGs), water, and waste. “Those were the big three areas of concern raised during our market research phase a few years ago. GHGs are obviously the most urgent matter, but all three topics really are intertwined.”
While he notes that reducing GHG emissions brings the most tangible economic benefits to companies and is essential to mitigating climate change, he is quick to point out that sustainable development is a much broader topic. “We don’t just stop at greenhouse gases. We want companies to have the opportunity to look at all of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainability, real sustainability, means looking at poverty reduction, gender equality, education, clean water, and so much more. I don’t expect cohort members to address all 17, but they should be part of our conversations.”
Broader Change Starts with You
“When our businesses start to change in their commitment to sustainability and fighting climate change, people, notably their employees, become more aware at the individual level,” says Thibodeau. “That’s how positive societal change happens. It has a positive effect on our individual habits and that is essential to driving long-term sustainability in our communities. We are excited to get started this fall on the hard work of helping New Brunswick companies drive real change.”
GENB works with local businesses to accelerate New Brunswick’s transition to a low-carbon economy. They help organizations set, integrate, and achieve sustainability goals while maximizing the benefits of taking climate action. Looking to become part of their September 2021 cohort? There’s still time to sign up before registration closes on September 15. Click here to get started.